Today two different rockets from two different continents delivered their payloads to orbit after flawless flights. Both launches separated only 72 seconds.
H-IIA rocket was launched on December 23, 2017 from Tanegashima Launch Center in southern Japan with two satellites under the payload fairing. Rocket with GCOM-C (Global Change Observation Mission-Climate) and SLATS (Super Low Altitude Test Satellite) ignited its two solid rocket boosters and LE-7A core stage engine at 01:26:22 UTC. After two minutes of flight both boosters were jettisoned and after another 2 minutes payload fairing was released. First stage was cut off at T+6’38”; second stage delivered and deployed GCOM-C at T+16′ on 800 km orbit. To deploy SLATS upper stage performed another two burns and finally at T+1h28′ deployed it on 450 km x 643 km orbit.
Almost 9000 km away Falcon-9 FT was launched 72 seconds later from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA. Rocket ignited its nine Merlin engines at 01:27:34 UTC and perform lift off at Launch Complex 4-East. After 2’30” first stage was cut off and separated. Second stage ignited its single Merlin-1D engine and released payload fairing at T+3′ exposing ten Iridium communication satellites. As it was not planned to recover first stage it just fall into Pacific Ocean. After two burns separated with coast phase of flight upper stage reached designated 625 km orbit at T+52′. At 02:39 UTC all ten satellites weighing 860 kg each were deployed from adapter. All ten satellites reached correct orbit and already reported good condition.